Marine geologists and biologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have captured stunning images and spectacular video of mesmerising oceanic life. The Océano Profundo 2015 expedition dove 3,000 meters below the coasts of Puerto Rico to explore seamounts and underwater trenches. This expedition revealed some wonderful marine creatures, such as spellbinding coral; bioluminescent beings; ‘sea cucumbers’ taking flight; fascinating trachymedusae; and cute, camera-shy sea toads escaping the lens.

The Océano Profundo expedition live-streamed images from a remote vehicle down on the seabed. NOAA were in contact each day with some 40 marine scientists who logged in to view real-time images and in the accompanying chat rooms they discussed the unfamiliar (and in some cases new) creatures that they saw. Coral experts, starfish experts, marine geologists, oceanographers, and taxonomists collaborated in real-time about what they were seeing from the expedition’s live streamed images.

On this Océano Profundo 2015 page you can click on any image to view a larger version and to read additional information; it’s like being a real life ‘Little Mermaid’. It left me awestruck.

Two thirds of planet Earth is covered by oceans, yet humanity has only explored about 5% of our oceans. We are in the dark about much of what lies below the seas’ surfaces. Expeditions such as this one harness new, and now everyday, technologies like high-resolution underwater video cameras, remote vehicles, and the internet. New, everyday technologies can do a lot for marine taxonomy, marine conservation, as well as inspire and entertain the public.

For a live video feed and more cool pictures, video highlights, and daily updates from the researchers check out the NOAA Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs expedition page. Hawaii is set for the next expedition in July, and again the public can follow along LIVE as NOAA explore the seafloor!

This is a superb way to see rare sealife and threatened coral without disrupting or polluting their habitats.